Synod: for Mgr Twal, differences of opinion are normal, but "we all want the good of the family"
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Archbishops Enrico Solmi of Parma (Italy) and Mark Coleridge of Brisbane (Australia) as well as His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, answered questions at the daily press briefing on the Synod of the Family, the first of the third and last week of the Synod. The three focussed mainly on the admission of the divorced and remarried to Communion.
For His Beatitude Fouad Twal, it is "normal" that a variety of opinions be voiced at the Synod on the family. This is “a beautiful sign of collegiality". Since "we all come from different backgrounds, some challenges are shared; others relate to the particular political, economic and geographic areas in which we live.” Therefore, “it is quite normal that we do not agree on some points. The common point is that we all want the good of the family.”
"In two weeks of the Synod work,” he noted, “we dealt with and looked at every aspect of the family in the world, trying to find what is best for our families, by which we mean the human family, the religious family and the family as total Church."
Speaking about the issue of remarried divorced people and their access to the Eucharist, including the case of the child who broke off two pieces of the Eucharist to give to his divorced and remarried parents, the patriarch noted that many participants raised the question. “We are not indifferent to the issue. However, it is a delicate matter, and we cannot generalise. It is better to look at it case by case, keeping in mind mercy without forgetting the doctrine."
Mgr Mark Benedict Coleridge, archbishop of Brisbane and rapporteur for one of the circuli minores, spoke on the same issue at the briefing. He said he did not remember the intervention, but stressed “the importance of not having a vision that is too Manichean, an either or attitude, because the reality of the human experience is broader and more nuanced.”
“A story like this calls on us to get in touch with reality. We should think in concrete not abstract terms. We must root ourselves in reality. This is a pastoral synod that must rest on theological and doctrinal elements, and be connected to the real life experience of our families. We must work with honesty. But I don’t know whether there will be changes for remarried divorced people.” In his view, "a solid second marriage, with children raised as Christians, is not the same thing as fling in a hotel."
The issue requires a genuine dialogue with irregular couples, so that they may tell their story. Notwithstanding what might be said in doctrinal terms, no basis exists for a change in the teachings of the Church. In fact, although some participants in a number of circuli minores called on the pope to show mercy during the Jubilee, Mgr Coleridge said that no one explicitly advocated readmitting the remarried to Communion.
For Enrico Solmi, bishop of Parma, "this child showed us a real and authentic life. He shook the assembly and made me think of similar situations. However, the Church can be welcoming many ways."
Like the bishop of Brisbane, Mgr Solmi said that a “penitential path” towards the Communion could be laid down for remarried divorced people. When a “new family has been created, this might be the path required for them. It might be first a path of discernment that starts from the acknowledgement of the mistake. The penitential path of conversion would lead to asking for forgiveness in order to be admitted to a path of reconciliation with the community and with God, also beyond the mediation of the Church."
Card Walter Kasper also addressed the issue in an interview with the Servizio Informazione Religiosa. "I hope to see openness, a majority in favour of Communion for the divorced with a process of integration in the parishes and the life of the Church."
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Father Antonio Spadaro, director of Civiltà Cattolica, said that "mercy and truth are never contradictory because mercy is the truth of the Gospel. So any opposition between doctrine and pastoral ministry, or between mercy and truth does not make any sense."
During the briefing, the Holy See Press Office released data with respect to its twitter account @HolySeePress for the period between 2 and 18 October. About 1,600 tweets were posted in three languages: English, Spanish and Italian. Tweets with links to briefing statements by the Synod Fathers, experts, lay and fraternal delegates were also translated and posted.
The account tweeted the contents of the official page of the Synod, synod15.vatican.va, covering the prayer vigil with the pope in St Peter’s Square, the Synod’s first Mass and the Angelus that followed, the first reports, the pope’s first address in the Synod Aula, the start of sessions, the 1 pm briefing, the canonisation Mass and yesterday’s Angelus.
In the period covered, @HolySeePress had 1.95 million hits, 1,184 new followers, 6,329 retweets, 3,610 favourites, 2,262 clicks on the links with the synod15.vatican.va channel. The largest group of visitors was from the United States (29 per cent), followed by Italy (21 per cent) and Spain (7 per cent).